An excerpt from

The Brexit Tapes

John Bull

THE BREXIT TAPES

**Confidential Historical Document. Released to remaining public after expiration of the One-Hundred-and-Thirty-Year Act.**

Transcript covers 15th — 16th November 2018 and the time of Great Resignation.

LIDINGTON: First minister’s gone. It’s Shailesh.
MAY: Who?
LIDINGTON: Shailesh Vara.
MAY: David, I was up until 4am pretending to give a shit about Corbyn’s recipe for raspberry jam. My brain is broken. I have not yet had coffee. Who is that?
LIDINGTON: Damn. I was hoping you knew.

LIDINGTON: Okay. Shailesh. According to Wikipedia he’s from Cambridgeshire.
MAY: Hmmm.
LIDINGTON: Black belt in Tai Kwondo. No scandal section.
MAY: Nice. You sure he’s one of ours?
LIDINGTON: ‘Implemented devastating cuts to legal aid.’
MAY: Oh right. Yeah. Definitely one of ours.

LIDINGTON: There goes Raab.
MAY: Dom?! The little fucking traitor.
LIDINGTON: Yup. Here’s his letter.
MAY: ‘I Have resigned so I can spend more time with an atlas.’
LIDINGTON: Yes. That part was a bit weird.

MAY: Who’s next? Grayling?
LIDINGTON: Maybe. Although Grayling will…
MAY: Careful! Remember the curse. Say it three times and he appears.
LIDINGTON: Sorry. Then Leadsom next I think. Failing that…
GRAYLING: Hello!
LIDINGTON: I SAID FAILING!
GRAYLING: That works too!

GRAYLING: What are we talking about?
MAY: Go away Chris.
GRAYLING: Is it Brexit?
LIDINGTON: Go away Chris.
GRAYLING: Esther gave me a letter to give you.
MAY: Shit.
GRAYLING: Also are you going to Michael Gove’s pizza party later?
LIDINGTON: Shit.
GRAYLING: It’s a secret one! Shhhh!

LIDINGTON: Suella Bravernann has gone now.
MAY: Okay, seriously you made that name up.
LIDINGTON: I didn’t!
MAY: Who’s next? Willie Dustice?
LIDINGTON: She’s real! I swear!
MAY: Sure. Has Dwigt Rortugal gone yet?
LIDINGTON: Look! She’s on Wikipedia!
MAY: That’s not a valid source, David.

<meanwhile, somewhere in London>

GREGGS LADY: Hello duck! We’ve not seen you in a while!
ED MILIBAND: I’ve been… away.
GREGGS LADY: Well it’s nice to see you again. What can I get you?
MILIBAND: Bacon butty please.
GREGGS: LADY: You want ketchup in that?
MILIBAND: Drown it.

MAY <on phone>: I hear you’re planning another pizza party.
GOVE: <dry hissing>
MAY: How you do think I know?
GRAYLING: Hello!
GOVE: <sound of wet tentacles>
MAY: I propose an alternative: Become My Brexit Minister.
GOVE: <ghoulish wail>

MAY: Think about it Michael this could be your chance to prove everyone wrong.
GOVE: <wet clicking>
MAY: Brexit Secretary. They’d HAVE to admire you.
GOVE: <subdued wet slapping>
MAY: They’d have to love you then, Michael. The people, they’d have to respect you.
GOVE: <demonic purr>

<in the terrace cafe>

JAYAWARDENA: Prime Minister…
MAY: The lasagna please. And what’s the dessert of the day?
JAYAWARDENA: No, Prime Minister it’s me.
MAY: <blank look>
JAYAWARDENA: Ranil Jayawardena? PPS at Justice?
MAY: Still no.
JAYAWARDENA: I hearby resi…
MAY: Meh. Join the queue. I’m on lunch.

<meanwhile in Staples>

REES-MOGG: Fair maiden! Where is the Vellum? I must write to the 1922 Committee!
TILL LADY: Paper? Over there.
REES-MOGG: Vellum, sweet child! Vellum! One does not use paper for the ‘22!
TILL LADY: Is that like Post-its then? They're over there.
REES-MOGG: Vellum!
TILL LADY: Sir there’s a queue.

LIDINGTON: Rees-Mogg’s letter is in.
MAY: Tedious little shit.
LIDINGTON: Anything from Gove?
MAY: I feel terror and an overwhelming urge to vomit, so maybe his human form approaches.
LIDINGTON: Oh sorry, that's my fault. I forgot to mute Sky and Rees-Mogg’s live. <click>
MAY: Okay, yes, the feeling has passed.

LIDINGTON: Leadsom’s up in the house. Says she’s not resigning.
MAY: Fucksake, can’t one thing go my way today?
LIDINGTON: Is that not… a good thing?
MAY: Think about it David. This means we STILL have to invite her to Cabinet Meetings.

LIDINGTON: Rumours about Chris now. Shall I…
MAY: Grayling Grayling Grayling
GRAYLING: Hello!
LIDINGTON: I was going to call him.
MAY: The curse is quicker. Chris have you been speaking to Gove again?
GRAYLING: Um… No?
MAY: You’re covered in ichor, Chris
GRAYLING: Okay yes.

MAY: What did Gove say to you?
GRAYLING: He sang a song, straight into my brain. Like sugar, sorrow and power intertwined. Through it all, one world resolved: ‘resign’.
MAY: Oh Jesus. Gove got to you.
GRAYLING: Also he gave me pizza.
MAY:
GRAYLING: It was Hawaiian.
MAY: Sweet mercy.

GRAYLING: I think this means I have to resign.
LIDINGTON: Chris, you’re a valuable member of the team and...
GRAYLING: That’s very nice of you to say so David, but I feel very strongly about this. I hereby...
MAY: You’re NOT resigning Chris. You don’t want to.
GRAYLING: Oh. Okay miss. Sorry.

MAY <on the phone>: Are you in or out?
GOVE: <sound of one hand clapping>
MAY: Sorry? Is that yes or no?
GOVE: <unholy shriek>
MAY: Michael, this would be a lot easier if you assumed human form for a few minutes.
GOVE: <hideous clicking>
MAY: Yes I know it’s your day off, but still.

LIDINGTON: Okay. Press conference booked for five.
MAY: Cheers.
LIDINGTON: What are you going to say?
MAY: Honestly? I really don’t know. I just thought... YOLO
LIDINGTON: You could do the little dance again?
MAY: Really, David?
LIDINGTON: Oh come on! How could it POSSIBLY make things any worse?!

LIDINGTON: Okay, thinking out of the box... you could go full George-from-Seinfeld-after-he-quit?
MAY: So turn up, don’t mention Brexit, pretend the whole referendum never happened?
LIDINGTON: Yes, and hope everyone is so embarrassed they all pretend the same.
MAY: I mean, it’s pretty tempting…

LIDINGTON: Rehman Chishti has quit now.
MAY: Who ARE all these people?!
LIDINGTON: I have no idea.
MAY: I need to start reading stuff before I sign it.
LIDINGTON: Wait… ‘Trade Envoy’ apparently.
MAY: I mean, what even IS that?!

LIDINGTON: Are Trade Envoys the ones who go helicopter golfing with Prince Andrew?
MAY: No, that’s Cultural Ambassadors.
LIDINGTON: Oh yes.
MAY: Hang on, are they the ones we send to the hot, humid countries we hate?
LIDINGTON: No, that’s Liam Fox.
MAY: Ha! Oh yeah.

MAY: All I’m saying, Donald, is you’re being VERY unhelpful here.
TUSK: Me? All I said was ‘no brexit’ is an option. It was just a little comment.
MAY: And that’s… wait, are you LAUGHING.
TUSK: *stiffles giggles* no.
MAY: You are!
TUSK: I’m not!
MAY: Donald! I swear… hello?!

TUSK <laughing hysterically>: Oh god I had to hang up. I cannot stop.
MACRON: Let me answer next time! We’ll make her think she dialed the wrong number
TUSK: No, it is mean!
MACRON: Okay, but let me make another public comment about a European Army.
TUSK: LOL! Okay go on then.

LIDINGTON: Okay, show time. What are you doing again?
MAY: Still no idea.
LIDINGTON: Just think, ‘what would David Cameron do’?
MAY: ...And then do the opposite. Yes I know. Actually… do you think announcing his arrest and execution would help?
LIDINGTON:
MAY: Just thinking out loud.

MAY: How did I do?
LIDINGTON: You didn’t really say anything.
MAY: Yup.
LIDINGTON: I mean, it was pretty much a rehash of the same stuff as this morning.
MAY: Yup.
LIDINGTON: Basically, a damp squib.
MAY: Yup.
LIDINGTON: Top, top trolling.
MAY: Thanks!

MAY: Okay Michael
GOVE: <eldritch hiss>
MAY: Yes, we’ll see you soon.
LIDINGTON: He’s coming over?
MAY: As soon as he’s got his skin on.
LIDINGTON: I’ll lock the cat away.
MAY: Thanks, and send down to the kitchen for some live mice.

GOVE: It iS GoOd tO SeE YOu AgaiN PriMe MINIsTeR. On MY DaY oFF.
MAY: Thanks for coming Michael
GOVE: It IS Of nO CoNSEqUencE.
MAY: You’re very kind.
GOVE: AlTHOugh TOday IS My DaY oFF.
MAY: Yes, I know, you already said.

GOVE: YoU wiLL PaY hoMAGE?
MAY: Sorry?
GOVE <lip smacking>: HOmaGE
MAY: Oh right! Sorry! David! The mice please.
GOVE <crunching of small bones>: AH! SwEet moRCels.
DAVID: My God.
GOVE: Do I HAve sOME on MY ChIN?
MAY: David don’t stare.
GOVE <wiping>: HoW EMBarRAssING i DO ApOLOgise.

MAY: Will you be Brexit Secretary?
GOVE: WEll iT iS a SUBJeCt I HaVE OPIniOns oN.
MAY: I know.
GOVE: AnD I hAVE aLWAys bEEn LoYal aND trUE to mY FriENDs.
LIDINGTON: Weeeell...
GOVE: OKaY, ApART fROM tHAt ONe TiME.
LIDINGTON: One?
GOVE: Or PErHAps tWIcE.
LIDINGTON: Try five.
MAY: Be nice, David.

GOVE: If i AM To SErvE tHEn I hAVe dEMAnDs.
MAY: Shoot.
GOVE: I wISh to ReNEgoTIaTe tHE TeRMs.
MAY: Okay. Tricky. But maybe.
GOVE: AnD A FRee VoTE iN ParlIAMent.
MAY: Keep talking.
GOVE: alSO aN IteM oN mY STeaM wISHList is ON SAle.

LIDINGTON: More mice?
GOVE: ThANk YoU.
MAY: Okay we can work with this.
GOVE: AnD OnE FiNAL DemAND. I reQUIre BoRIS JohNSoN’s hEAd oN A pLAte.
MAY: Okay. That's trickier but the idea has a certain appeal and I’m sure…
LIDINGTON: Prime Minister! No!
MAY: Goddamnit.
GOVE: ThEn I mUSt decLINE.

MAY: Okay. At least he agreed to stop actively plotting against me.
LIDINGTON: Until he finishes Goat Simulator, at least.
MAY: Who’s coming over next?
LIDINGTON: Penny Mordaunt.
MAY:
LIDINGTON: Development secretary.
MAY: Jesus Christ.
LIDINGTON: What?
MAY: Well it’s hardly a ‘Great Office of State’ is it?

MORDAUNT: If you want my continued loyalty then I have demands.
MAY: You know you’re just the Development secretary, right?
MORDAUNT: Sorry?
MAY: I mean... seriously.
MORDAUNT: I don’t appreciate your tone.
MAY: And I don’t appreciate…
LIDINGTON: Prime Minister...
MAY <sighs>: Go ahead.

MORDAUNT: I think it’s about time I got some respect.
MAY: You know that Gove is outside right? If I ask him he will literally flay your face off? Michael!
GOVE: HeLLo!
MORDAUNT: Keep that THING away from me!
GOVE: ThAT iS vErY HurTful.
LIDINGTON: Prime Minister...
MAY: God. Fine.

MAY: Okay, go.
MORDAUNT: A Free vote on the deal!
MAY: Fine.
MORDAUNT: And I want people to know that it was my idea.
MAY: Knock yourself out.
MORDAUNT: Also an item on my steam wishlist is on sale.
GOVE: iS It GoAt SImULAtor?
MORDAUNT: Oh my God! You’ve played it?!
GOVE: It’S sO GoOD.

LIDINGTON: David Davis is on the radio now.
MAY: Of course he is.
LIDINGTON: He says he would have run the negotiations differently.
MAY: Did he remind everyone that he was in charge of those negotiations for TWO YEARS?
LIDINGTON: No.
MAY: Funny that.

LIDINGTON: Also Gove is all over the papers again saying he’s still thinking of quitting.
MAY: That eldritch little shit. I bought him Goat Simulator!
LIDINGTON: To be fair, it’s not that long a game.
MAY: Am I literally the only person in Cabinet not playing this?!
LIDINGTON: Sounds like it.

LIDINGTON: Are you not on Ken Clarke’s Discord? It’s been all over that. He’s been streaming it.
MAY: I left. I got tired of his endless Fortnite memes.
LIDINGTON: By the way, Whittingdale just put his letter in.
MAY: Oh COME ON.

MAY: Okay. It’s time for us to go on the offensive and… what’s that?
LIDINGTON: Nothing.
MAY: Are you writing a letter?! Et tu Tory?! Give it!
LIDINGTON: No! I…
MAY: Oh David.
LIDINGTON: I just...
MAY: This is really sweet. But they’re not going to give me a Blue Peter badge.

MAY: So I’m controlling the goat?
CLARKE: Yes! Goat Simulator! Forward is W. Try to do as much damage as you can.
MAY: Why?
CLARKE: Just because.
MAY: It’s so senseless.
CLARKE: But fun for the goat!
MAY: I guess but… oh FUCK OFF Ken. I see what you’re doing here.
CLARKE: Who me?

MAY <entering>: Ken Clarke is a devious shit isn’t he?
LIDINGTON: Always has been, always will be. Never play him at Fortnite.
GOVE <on tv>: i aM LoOkInG ForWARd tO CoNTInuING tO wORk WiTH aLL mY cOlLeAgUes.
MAY: Is that a new skin?
LIDINGTON: He says it gives off less static in the wet.

<elsewhere>

LEADSOM: I convene this secret meeting to discuss having a secret meeting about the backstop. Questions?
GRAYLING: Andrea is there pizza?
LEADSOM: No. Anyone else?
GRAYLING: I have another question.
LEADSON: There will not be pizza at the next one either.
GRAYLING: Boo.

MORDAUNT: I have a question. Is Gove still onboard with this?
LEADSOM: I believe so. I can feel his presence in my mind.
GOVE <ethereal>: DoN’T mINd mE i’M jUsT LuRKing
GRAYLING: Ooh! Miss! another question!
LEADSOM: Yes Chris?
GRAYLING: Have we DEFINITELY ruled out Pizza?

LEADSOM: Okay so to confirm, we will meet up this weekend.
GOVE: bUT nOT oN SuNDay as i’M aT RaMBliNG cLUb.
LEADSOM: There WILL be pizza.
GRAYLING: GET IN!
LEADSOM: To secretly discuss the backstop.
MORDAUNT: Last question, are we inviting Liam Fox?
LEADSOM: Do we have to?
GOVE: hE CrEEps mE OuT.